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Changes in the colour of your pet’s poo?

Stool colour is an excellent indicator of intestinal health. Many different conditions can have an impact on stool colour and consistency so sometimes these changes are the first indication of a problem. At times, changes can be subtle, but at other times there can be a dramatic change in colour and it is best to find out more!

This article was written by a FirstVet vet


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What does the colour of my pet’s poo mean?

Colour and possible reasons

Green - Eating grass; scavenging

Orange/Yellow - Feeding a bland diet of white food e.g. chicken & rice; faeces moving through the intestines too quickly; liver disease

White pieces - Worms; undigested food

Grey/Greasy - Problems with increased fat intake in diet; problems with digestion of fat

Dark red/Purple - Haemorrhage (bleeding) within the intestinal tract

Streaks or spots of red - Inflammation of the colon (large intestine); anal gland issues; damage to rectum

Black or very dark brown - Eating soil; gastric ulcer (stomach bleeding)

Brown - Normal...but what is the consistency?!

When should I worry about my pet’s poo colour?

Whether or not the stool colour is a concern depends on other factors, such as the underlying cause and the presence of other symptoms. Commonly, faeces can be collected and analysed at a laboratory to understand more about what is happening. Blood samples are also useful in some cases. Based on the symptoms present, your vet may decide to give a wormer, instigate a diet change, add in some probiotics or provide digestive enzymes in some cases. In more severely affected patients, hospitalisation may be required, with intravenous fluids given, stomach protectants and pain relief.

How can I help?

Looking after your pet’s intestinal health is really important. Remember to introduce any diet changes gradually; feed a complete and balanced diet, which is correct for the age and breed of your pet and keep regular worming treatments up to date. It’s always a good idea to limit grass and soil ingestion, as well as trying to prevent scavenging whenever you can.

When to see a vet

Dark red or purple faeces is a medical emergency so please seek advice. It is also advisable to speak to your vet if your pet has other signs of ill health, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, a reduced appetite, pain or lethargy.

Further information

Vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs

Vomiting and diarrhoea in cats

Still worried?

If you would like more advice please book an online video appointment to have a chat with one of our FirstVet nutrition vets.

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